The next weekend after the fleche offered the Three Capes 300k. Ok, well, really the Two Capes, because Cape Meares Rd is still falling into the ocean.
Michal thought he'd ride with me. He and Cyndi arrived the evening before, and we were up at 4 to eat and get out of the door by 5, to start at 6.
The weather was going to be outstanding. Stupendous. Breathtaking. Michal: "are you wearing a long sleeve jersey or a short sleeve jersey?" Me: "yes". (Layers)
So we both headed out wearing two jerseys, and, at least in my case, armwarmers. And our Gore Visibility vests. Michal realized he had left his gloves behind. I had a couple pair in my bag, and the wool overgloves were really more his size than mine, so that was solved.
I have described this route for you so many times that I will just share pictures for a bit.
Arrived in Tillamook; Michal gave us 20 minutes. I got some food, ate some food, and removed a lot of extraneous clothing. We headed out to the Bayocean/Cape Meares out and back. There were some cows. I reckoned they were primordial Tillamook Cheese cows. Michal was sure they were the primordial Tillamook Ice Cream cows.
There was a headwind, which turned into a delightful tailwind on the way back out, and south around the cape. Bit of a climb, then down to Netarts Bay.
As always, I forget how steep the Cape Lookout climb can get. Every year since 2007. Slogged on up, remembering that just when I wanted to fall over and die, Anderson Viewpoint would be right around the corner.
Michal was waiting there, and, as I stood there gasping, Ray, Steve, and Jeff pulled up. We all stood and gasped a bit. Jeff: "that was.... special". Then the final push to the top - not as steep, but still challenging. (Pro Tip: the trailhead parking lot is the summit.)
The road quality on the descent has definitely declined. So, care was exercised. Good descent wasted. Eventually we arrived in Pacific City. Michal and I had decided to stop at Grateful Bread, but when we arrived, it was quite crowded. Sad. I was looking forward to soup and a sandwich. We went back to the convenience store. I had a big cup of coffee and an ice cream bar.
We then headed out via Old Woods Rd to pick up Hwy 101 N through Cloverdale to Hebo, and thence onto another breathtakingly gorgeous 15 miles to the Coast Range summit. Lowest summit ever, and a very gentle climb.
The 9 mile descent seemed longer than it should have, and when we arrived at the Grand Ronde Store, I was bonking. So I sat and ate things and sat, and eventually the shaking subsided. We headed out, and I really was starting to feel much better. Noted that the Casino convenience store has a hot deli offering; notes for next time.
Through Willamina (ooh, new gas station/c-store; pause for banana and V-8), Sheridan, past the penitentiary, turn left and oh my, where did that tailwind come from? It wasn't supposed to be there, but I wasn't going to argue.
Brief stop for the info control, through Amity, and on to Dayton. We did pull over before Dayton to add more layers. Into Dayton and... another bonk. So, more sitting, eating and sitting. Michal pulled my remaining layers out of my bag and I put them on (long sleeve jersey and windbreaker), and got me some hot chocolate, which helped a LOT. Off again.
I was now wearing 4 layers - two jerseys, a windbreaker and my reflective vest. Lots of unzipping and zipping as the temperature fluctuated.
North. Through Lafayette. Over the Abbey Rd hill. Down Ribbon Ridge. Onto North Valley. Less than 20 miles to go. Onto Fern Hill, 5 miles, tops. Past the last little rise, down past the red barn.
Done, at 12:42am. Rather slower than I had wanted it to be, but a bit quicker than the 300k of a month ago.
The weather was so nice that Keith and Cyndi were waiting for us out on the hotel porch.